I spent most of this afternoon reading my journals in preparation for a new writing project, one that is intimate and personal and scary. With a few exceptions, I write fiction, and while my personal experiences influence my stories, I have not written directly about them—I have not told my own truth, unfiltered.
One of my cohorts, a non-fiction writer, advised another classmate to give herself time before writing about her own experiences, that in order to write the truth—to shape a story—the writer needs to have some sort of distance from the events and emotions. I thought of my cohort’s advice today as I pored through sloppily written pages and reflected upon those experiences from several years ago.
I still think I need more time and distance in order to shape a narrative arc, to form these incidents into a clear “story.” But, as I have learned from writing a novel, I’m a slow writer; I needed years to complete Be With Me (working title, and I’m experimenting with more evocative phrases), and I have no doubt that this new project will need just as many years, if not more.
For the moment, I revel in the newness of the story, in the first spark of creativity. Another beginning. I believe in the promise it holds.